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Transcribe videos so that they are accessible to deaf pupils

Transcribe videos so that they are accessible to deaf pupils

It is not uncommon for schools to use videos and subtitling for deaf pupils. But City of Norwich School has gone one step further by pioneering transcripts of online videos, which it is now sharing with schools across the world.

The school has a special educational needs department and separate hearing-impairment unit, which has about 20 pupils. Some of these pupils need one-to-one support as they have very low literacy skills - not uncommon in hearing-impaired children, who do not develop the phonic or syntactical skills that hearing children pick up in their early years.

Neil Carpenter, senior ICT technician, had been working with ClickView Online video resources for several years and was keen to look at ways of using video with deaf learners. ClickView offers access to thousands of videos from organisations such as National Geographic and Getty Images; allows recording from Freeview channels; and lets teachers post materials, such as videos of experiments, sports or interactive whiteboard activities.

But there were particular problems for deaf pupils. Often, when a teacher showed a video, there would be a signer next to the screen translating for pupils who use British Sign Language. But not all children with hearing impairment are signers and this could be distracting for other learners, so Carpenter began to look into transcribing the videos.

Pupils can print transcriptions out before a lesson or access the material at home, where they can work at their own pace. Carpenter has transcribed 65 videos so far and has roped in some sixth-form pupils to help. "We have two young people with hearing impairments in the sixth form and other pupils are aware of some of the problems they face," he says. "Many of our sixth formers do some form of voluntary work, and this means they can offer very practical assistance to other pupils in the school."

The transcripts are now posted on ClickView. "The hope is that all schools will contribute and share resources, building the largest one-stop video resource database for hearing-impaired pupils," Carpenter says. "A (special educational needs) folder could be created, with videos and resources for dyslexia and a wide range of other problems faced by pupils.

"Our school motto is 'Success for all'. It would be wonderful if this resource could help make this come true for all pupils at every school."

Sally McKeown is an author and freelance journalist specialising in special educational needs and technology in education. Her book, Brilliant Ideas for Using ICT in the Inclusive Classroom, is published by Routledge. Find out more about ClickView at

What else?

Follow the progress of more than 20 deaf and hearing-impaired children as they create an opera from scratch in a video shared by Teachers TV.


Try TES's Deaf Awareness collection for resources that aim to increase recognition of deaf pupils' needs and look at how these can be met in the classroom. bit.lyDeafAwareness.

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